Vic Govt kicks off telco purchasing initiative



news The Victorian Government this week revealed it had started discussing the future of its whole of government telecommunications purchasing strategy with the market as part of a new approach dubbed ‘VicConnect’ that it hopes will deliver service delivery improvements to the state’s departments and agencies.

In a statement, the state’s Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said the State Government was engaging with Victoria’s ICT industry to obtain industry views and feedback on the VicConnect vision. The state said the new strategy would transform the existing Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS) into a government platform called VicConnect that would deliver “better connectivity, mobility and collaboration services for the Victorian Government”.

“We are seeking a broad range of views to inform the future of ICT within the Victorian Government,” Rich-Phillips said. He added said the current TPAMS contracts arrangement was nearly 10 years old and required a significant reform.

“Technology and market changes offer a timely and substantial opportunity to transform how we purchase and manage ICT services,” Rich-Phillips said. “A new approach is needed to provide better services, reduce costs and increase competition. It is also important to introduce a more flexible approach that is adaptive to new technologies and markets.”

The Victorian Government’s recently launched ICT Strategy provided high-level direction on the design and use of information and technology to deliver better government services. Mr Rich-Phillips said VicConnect was one of the first significant projects following the launch of the ICT strategy earlier this year.

“VicConnect is expected to stimulate innovation and efficiency through market engagement, and increasing productivity and service improvements,” Rich-Phillips said. Following market consultation, further work will be undertaken to develop and refine VicConnect’s vision and may be used to inform future procurement processes if required.

A similar initiative conducted by the Australian Government Information Management Office has saved departments agencies amounts from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the millions, according to the agency, which over the past several years has centralised whole of government purchasing across a number of different areas, ranging from telecommunications to software from industry giant Microsoft.

The news comes just weeks after the Victorian Government released the final version of a new whole of government information and communications technology strategy containing hard deadlines for goals, with which it aims to start addressing extensive IT project and service delivery issues which have resulted in more than a billion dollars in budget overruns and a string of failed IT projects over the past half-decade.

Like Victoria, Tasmania in recent years has also substantially revamped its telecommunications purchasing initiatives, going to market in November 2010 for a large chunk of its whole of government voice and mobile telecommunications needs.

Image credit: Jonathan LaRocca, Creative Commons, Parliament of Victoria